The government has published far-reaching proposals which, if put into place, will truly transform the practise of estate agency into a more regulated and rigorous profession. The proposals should give confidence to buyers and sellers, and for agents themselves there is the opportunity to be recognised for their expertise.
The report from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is based upon recommendations from the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) working group, established a year ago by the ministry. In it, the report focuses heavily on the regulation of the industry, training of those that work in the industry and the process of licensing in order to keep on raising professional standards in such a key industry.
Mark Hayward, the Chief Executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, welcomed the news from the RoPA, stating: "This is a significant moment for those in the property industry and a huge leap forward in stamping out bad practice. We have long called for Government intervention to ensure everyone in the industry is licensed, adheres to a strict code of practice and holds at least a Level 3 qualification (A-level). Following the extensive considerations by the working group, it is now for Government to create the structures for a properly regulated industry, whose professional knowledge and skills are trusted and respected by all.”
• All agencies operating a residential property business should be licensed
• All customer-facing staff employed within such residential agencies should be licensed and agree to adhere to a Code of Practice
• For specific activities, mandated by the government, a Level 3 or above qualification will be necessary
• A regulator will be appointed to oversee compliance
• Whilst recommendations from a working group may not seem immediately relevant, the report which has been produced will form the basis of fresh government legislation on the subject, with the working party’s Chairman, Lord Best, stating that some of the key proposals will be realised in the next two years.